Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Masonic Treasure Troves

I've been working on a fun project at Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL).  About a year ago, Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) decided it was time to clean out the attic over the Lodge room.  They knew there was a lot of old records and junk up there, but nobody knew exactly what, and a lot of it had been up there for over a hundred years.  So Greg Knott (you know that name from the Midnight Freemasons) arranged for a few Boy Scouts, a few Masons, and the local Historical Society to show up on a Saturday, and began handing down through a hole in the ceiling box after box of stuff and hauling into the Lodge's dining area.

I can't even begin to describe how much stuff was up there in any meaningful way.  But hundreds of books.  Boxes and boxes of records going back 150 years (some older than the building itself).  There was framed art.  One large print dating back to 1896 was one of the most beautiful prints I've seen.  Nobody has ever seen another like it.  There were gavels and jewels, a couple Master's hats, several different sets of hand-painted glass degree slides.  There were old movie posters.  There were old advertising calendars.  There were a lot of playing cards and dice (somebody used to have a lot of fun in that old Lodge).  There were newspapers--some of which the Historical Society hadn't seen before.  The list is endless.  The Historical Society will be years just going through the newspapers and paper records that were up there.

So Homer Lodge decided to take a few of the best artifacts and set up a museum in a spare room.  I've been working on that on and off for a year.  It's not been as easy as I thought, because there are actually two stories I want to tell in that museum room.  I want to tell the story of Homer Lodge's long history in the community, and I want to explain to people who visit just exactly what Freemasonry is.  

The story of Homer Lodge's treasure trove just go to show you that very often Masonic Lodge's hold a lot of history in their archives, stashed in their closets, and stuffed into drawers.  I challenge you to pull some of those relics out.  Learn that history and pass it along to others.  History that isn't shared quickly becomes lost forever.

~Todd E. Creason

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